Before you even think of growing, you need to jump a few hoops to understand when to harvest and smoke marijuana. This is because it will give you a clear picture of what you need. For instance, the amount of time required to harvest autoflowers is different than photoperiod strains. Once you know more about the time involved, you can make an educated guess as to what you really want to grow.
While photoperiod strains take at least 4-5 months for a complete grow cycle, autoflowers need only 2-3 months. Growing cannabis is not ultra simple because you’ll need some experience before you start harvesting many plants at once, but it’s worth all the effort. Most growers want to know how long it would take to harvest and smoke cannabis buds, but the answer is not specific. A lot depends on the strain, type and conditions you offer to help the plant grow.
It’s easy to manipulate the growth or vegetative cycle of a photoperiod strain by extending the time period. The math is simple. The longer you allow the plant to grow, the bigger the buds but it again depends on a lot of factors.
For instance, let’s imagine that you’re growing a heavy yielder like Gold Leaf that grows up to 80 inches tall. You can expect great yields, but remember that it’s only possible if all factors including the light, temperature and container size are optimal. If you try to grow a huge plant in a small container, you will not get a lot of buds even if the plant has the ability to grow huge. Therefore, with so many permutations and combinations, it’s not possible to come up with an exact time frame to harvest and smoke the buds.
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To make it simple, let’s break that down so that it gives you an inkling about what you need to look for:
- Vegetative Cycle – The vegetative cycle needs at least 8-10 weeks to get average results. For better yields, growers allow the plants to grow at least 15 weeks. So, anywhere between 10-13 weeks is optimal, which is about 3 months.
- Flowering Cycle – The flowering stage is quicker compared to the growth stage. You can harvest when the buds turn a little amber. Again, the time you harvest depends on what you’re looking for. For example, some growers will harvest when the pistils turn 30% amber but others will wait until it’s at least 50:50 amber: white. If you harvest when it’s still white, the psychoactive effects may be too much for you to bear, and if you harvest when it’s completely amber, you’ll experience a body stone like none other. This cycle may take 2-2.5 months on an average.
- Drying – Many growers try to skip the drying time, but this is NOT recommended at all. If you want to harvest and smoke marijuana that comes under the photoperiod category, you need to have some patience. If you’ve waited for 5 months to get to this stage, you only need to wait a bit more as the drying cycle needs only a week. In order to check if the buds are dry, simply snap the stem to see if it breaks off If it does, the buds are ready to move on to the curing stage, but if the stems are soft, you need to wait a bit more. Make sure that you dry the buds in a dark room with ample air circulation. The more the air circulation, the faster the buds will dry.
- Curing – This process is perhaps the most important of all. Now that you’ve waited for more than five months, you’ve finally arrived at the last stage. Do not skip this process as this will determine the smell and taste of the bud. Uncured buds will not only be harsh, but they taste like grass and that’s something you definitely don’t need! To cure the buds properly, you need at least 6-8 weeks.
As you can deduce, the time period from the germination to the curing stage in photoperiod strains take about 7 months. It sure sounds like a long, long time but it’s worth every penny because there’s nothing as beautiful as growing your own medicine to cure your ailments. You can harvest and smoke marijuana as soon as it’s cured.
For growers who don’t want to wait for 7 months, autoflowering strains are a blessing in disguise.
- Vegetative stage – Technically, autoflowers grow irrespective of the light you provide, so you can’t control the vegetative stage. There’s no way to manipulate these suckers like you would with the photoperiod strains. So, it could take anywhere between 2-3 weeks for the plant to grow.
- Flowering stage – This might take another 2 months or so. Some strains require more than that, but most autoflowering strains can finish their cycle comfortably in 3 months.
- Drying – Like photoperiod strains, autoflowers also require a week to dry.
- Curing – Again, you need to cure the buds for at least 8 weeks.
The time period from the germination to the curing stage for autoflowers takes about 4-5 months depending on your growing conditions. So, if you’re running out of weed, you can simply grow a few autoflowering strains and smoke them as soon as they are cured. Autoflowers can be grown and harvested twice in the time frame you’d need to grow photoperiod strains, but although autoflowers are fast, the yields are not as impressive as the photoperiod strains. In simple words, autoflowering strains can be harvested and enjoyed even before the photoperiod strains complete their cycle. The next time someone asks when to harvest and smoke marijuana, you know what to say!